Stress Management

by sheilamarie

How to deal with stress before stress overwhelms you. You can manage your stress with a few simple actions.

Too much stress getting you down?

It's sad but true: no one gets to go through life without stress and troubles. Many would say that facing the difficulties in our lives is how we grow to become the full human beings we were meant to be.

But the stress of it all can make us want to scream!

Here are some tips for dealing with the excess stress in your life.

Hello World!

We're All in This Together!
Good Morning Let The Stress Begin

Managing Your Stress

At Home, At Work, In Life

Everyone has stress in their lives. Stress is our body's way of responding to the activity around us. 

No one gets to go through life without having to deal with a little stress now and then. These days our economic situation seems to have increased the pressure: rising prices, bills to pay, debts that have piled up. Perhaps some of our debt is the result of poor choices, but maybe, too, unexpected expenses have popped up -- health issues, broken down cars, needs of children or aging parents, etc.

Or maybe you have experienced some recent life changes: a new baby in the house or a move to another part of the country or the death of a loved one. These are times when our level of stress seems to escalate. 

Sometimes stress is our body's way of letting us know we need to change something about how we're living our lives. Ask yourself if there is something you can do to make the changes you need to make.

Sometimes, however, we can only make little changes because what is causing us stress is not changeable, or to change it would only make matters worse. These are the bigger things that we just have to live through. Then it is our attitude to them that may have to be adjusted.

Truth is, no one should have to deal with life's stresses all by themselves. We have become way too individualized these days. It used to be that we had family and friends with whom to share life's ups and downs. If you are alone, your stress may feel as if it's too much to bear.

When our bodies are stressed, a hormone called cortisol is produced in our brains. It helps us to speed up our responses, and so it can be a good thing when we are in danger or facing a crisis in which something must be done.

But too much cortisol is damaging, especially for a child. When parents feel stress, their baby picks up on it and feels stressed, too. So we need to deal with our stress if only for the health of our children.

Our own health may be affected by too much stress, as well. Our cardiovascular system can be adversely affected by an overabundance of stress, leading to heart attacks and other problems. Our digestion may be affected and certainly our sleep. Not having enough sleep leads to many other health issues. 

How Do I Relieve Excess Stress?

Ways to Relieve Stress

People have different ways to relieve the tense moments of life and to ease that bundle of stress that gets lodged in our chests.

Those who pray -- not an anxious listing of all the things that are wrong and a demand that God solve our problems, but an opening up and letting go, leaving ourselves in the arms of a loving God who works all things for the good -- find real relief from stress.

People who meditate find that their stress is reduced. too. Medical research corroborates this claim.

Other ways people combat stress are by some of the following activities:

  • Going for a walk in nature or even just around the block;
  • Getting extra exercise -- whatever form that takes for you;
  • A long soak in the tub;
  • Doing something you really enjoy but seldom take the time for -- reading, writing letters, hobbies, etc.
  • Talking things over with someone who understands;
  • Massage;
  • Putting on some music and dancing around the house, singing, too.

You may have some other suggestions of things that help you relieve your stress. I know someone who runs around the house like a mad woman, attacking all those need-to-clean places with gusto. The result is she uses up all that pent up energy and accomplishes something that needs doing at the same time. The sense of accomplishment, I think, is what really helps her relax. 

Laughter Helps

Anti Stress Therapy

Laugh Your Stress Away

Joke, Anybody?

Laughter really does defeat stress. This must be one reason why many ethnic groups that have been discriminated against over the years have come up with their own brand of humor and comedians.

Laughter releases endorphins in the brain -- feel good hormones that counteract the negative effect of cortisol and help you relax.

Everyone knows that having a good laugh can help you relax and feel a whole lot better, even when conditions themselves stay the same. This is no reason not to try to change the conditions that are bringing on your stress in the first place, but not taking yourself too seriously in the process can do wonders and can help you keep things in perspective.

Everyone has stress, sometimes more and sometimes less. Are you under a lot of stress right now?

Are you having difficulty managing your stress these days?

Massage Helps You Relax

Let the Stress Melt Away!
Stress Relieving Massage

Not All Stress Is Bad!

Good Stress Helps Us Get Things Done

Let's be honest here: a little stress in our lives can be a good thing. For example, if I'm expecting visitors, I may feel a little stressed about the state of my housekeeping. Out comes the dust cloths and the vacuum cleaner and many of my little piles of papers and books get sorted out -- finally -- and put into the filing cabinet and the book shelves or into the wood stove, if the papers are no longer needed. Knowing my company is arriving soon may turn up the pressure a notch or two, but without this motivation, my house would probably stay a mess.

In our external work lives the same thing may be true. I used to teach elementary school. If I knew the students needed to know a certain amount of information for an upcoming test, I would spend more time pushing that information. A salesperson may have a certain quota to meet; in an office, a deadline increases our focus and may keep us from procrastinating.

But even good stress needs to be managed. If I fall apart because I've let the housework go for too long, having company may become too stressful and I may stop inviting people to visit. That would be too bad because not only would it cut down on the stress of having to clean the house on short notice, but it would deprive me of conversation and companionship and make me a lonely girl.

A little management would mean that I would do little chores as I go instead of letting the mess build up. It also means rearranging my inner sense of priorities, causing me to balance my peace of mind with my respect for my guest. I don't want to make my guest feel uncomfortable in a disaster zone, but I want to retain enough composure to ensure I can be a gracious host rather than an exhausted basket case. So the inner and the outer must work together for me to keep life in order.

The work examples operate this way, too. I must balance my need to get things done with my mental health. Funny, but if we are feeling calm and focused, we can actually accomplish a whole lot more on the job than if we feel overwhelmed by the stress we sometimes place on ourselves.

These days working for me means writing, whether these online articles or my children's books and poetry. When I set myself goals, I become more productive. I may feel some stress when I fall behind on my goals, but having the goals keeps me moving along.

Take the Time to Do What You Love

Reading Helps Many People Relax and Refocus
Stress Relief from Reading

No Problem Is Too Great That It Cannot Be Solved by a Nice Cup of Tea!

My Family Lives by This -- So Do the #1 Ladies' Detectives

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Updated: 04/23/2013, sheilamarie
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Comments: Do You Have a Favorite Way to Relieve Stress?

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sheilamarie on 12/23/2012

What a helpful observation! I agree with you.

sheilamarie on 12/21/2012

How true, frugalrvers. I hope your stress level diminishes this year. Thanks for your comment.

Guest on 12/20/2012

My favorite way to relieve stress (and I've had life-altering stress this past year) is to say to myself "life is a school, life is a school." I try to pay attention to how I'm feeling and ask myself "what was I meant to LEARN from all of this." If I'm feeling stressed, I feel it is my body talking to me in its own language, telling me to take a minute, stop, breathe. Great article!

sheilamarie on 10/07/2012

Thanks, Sheri.

Sheri_Oz on 10/07/2012

I like the stress posters you have here. Cute.

sheilamarie on 04/30/2012

I agree, Katie, that the teen years can be brutal! You'll get through it, and she'll be your adorable, grown-up daughter again. Just remember, "I'm the grown-up. I'm the grown-up. I'm the . . . ."

katiem2 on 04/30/2012

I never thought my two adorable daughter would cause me a minutes stress, BUT I have one who just turned 13 and something happens when they become teens. I could pull my hair out at times, thanks for the help with stress management.

sheilamarie on 04/29/2012

Cute rhyme! I forgot about the breath method. It's funny how often we forget to simply breathe when we are stressed. Slowing down our breath and focusing on breathing in and breathing out does wonders. It's an easy thing to teach kids to do, too, when they are stressing out.

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